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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Were the Princeton Women "Only" an 8th Seed?

Argument for higher seed:  They were 30-0 and the only undefeated team in Division I.  And, some of the relatively new statistics demonstrate that they perhaps have the 17th best chance to win it all (perhaps that's the 538 blog), which would argue for a 5th seed.

Argument for lower seed:  Sure, they were 30-0, but their league is weak and their non-conference schedule wasn't sterling.  Sure, it's great to have been 30-0 and yes, you play who you play, but it's not like you were playing an ACC or SEC schedule.  Beat someone really good at a neutral site or on the road, like a ranked team, and then pop off.  Or, at least that's the argument.

Argument for an 8th seed:  Add the arguments above up and divide them by two, and you get an 8th seed, honoring both the undefeated season and allowing for the doubting that your league isn't among the strongest and neither was your non-conference schedule. 

My take:  An 8th is rather harsh because it is the committee's way of saying, "well, if you're any good, you're going to beat a 9th seed but then we'll get rid of the distraction that you present, the snobbery about your version of a student-athlete and the negative comparisons about academics because you'll go up against a #1 seed if you win in the first round and that will guarantee that you won't play on the second weekend."  A 7th or a 6th seed would have given the Tigers a better shot to win two games and get to the Sweet 16.  So, yes, I think that the Tigers got screwed.  You don't go 30-0 and draw a #13 ranking in the country and get a seed worthy of the #32 team in the country.

If you go back to around 1999, the Princeton men were 27-2 in the regular season and ranked 8th in the country.  They weren't going to draw a #2 seed in the tournament -- everyone knew that.  Look, they were in the Ivy League and they had a similar comparison to the Princeton women of today.  But the tournament committee gave them a #5 seed, which they had earned, and they won their first-round game before bowing out to a very good Michigan State team (with Mateen Cleaves) in a close second-round game (I believe that Michigan State went to the Final Four that year and might have won the whole thing). 

At the end of the day, the NCAA Tournament Committee got it wrong. 

Now it's up to Princeton to show 'em on the court.


Blogger Yih Lucy said...

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